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Updated December 26th, 2023 at 15:57 IST

Harmeet Desai and Manika Batra get top billing in UTT Senior Nationals

Manika Batra, who would be making her second appearance in the domestic events this year, gets the top billing and is seeded No. 1 among women, having held on to her world rankings. She is at No. 35.

Manika Batra
Manika Batra | Image:Olympics.com
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Harmeet Desai, the highest-ranked Indian in the world at No. 75, has got the top billing in men's singles at the 85th UTT Senior Nationals and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships, beginning here on Thursday.

Manav Thakkar is ranked behind Desai at No. 88 and is seeded second for the championships.

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G Sathiyan (89) and A Sharath Kamal (94) follow the two in the world rankings and are seeded third and fourth respectively.

Manika Batra, who would be making her second appearance in the domestic events this year, gets the top billing and is seeded No. 1 among women, having held on to her world rankings. She is at No. 35.

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Defending champion Sreeja Akula, world No. 88, has been seeded second.

But Manika's entry in the singles raised several eyebrows, as it came after the closing date and the group draw, according to a release.

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The competition department took a call on her inclusion after her employer, the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB), requested TTFI through a mail.

According to PSPB officials, she had sent in the entry, but because of an oversight, the officials missed it. They realised their mistake when Manika called them and they requested the competition authorities as a one-time exception.

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"We knew it (entry) was late. But the technical committee of the TTFI thought it proper to include Manika, keeping her international stature in mind," competition manager N Ganeshan said in the release.

"It was a collective decision of the committee members," he added.

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Players were divided into 112 (men) and 101 (women) groups, respectively, because of the overwhelming number of entries in the singles. 

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Published December 20th, 2023 at 23:05 IST

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